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How to effectively conquer negative self-talk and raise highly effective teenagers.

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

By Parenting Teenagers Expert & Psychologist Angela Karanja As seen on

In this article we cover;

  1. Negative self-talk among parents.

  2. Effects of parents' negative self-talk on kids and teens.

  3. 4 simple steps to effectively conquer negative self-talk and raise highly effective teenagers.

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Negative self-talk among parents.

Negative self-talk is common among parents. This internal critic is made up of cognitive distortions and catastrophising of events and own ability and can hinder your self confidence as a parent and your ability to do your best.

These negative thoughts about yourself dent and interfere with your ability to make progress and take positive actions. Negative self-talk comprises of those thoughts that not only make you feel bad, but they are also stressful and stunt self-growth.

Parents' negative self-talk effects on kids and teens.

Unfortunately, our kids draw from us as parents and learn similar negative self-talk, internalise it and then normalise it. They then start the process of self-destruction which can go on from generation to generation.

In many families, phrases such as I am a fool, I am an idiot, I am not enough, I am horrible, this is too much for me, I can't do this and many more are commonly strewn around and used as a norm.

Quarantine seems to have made things worse for parents, kids, and teens. We all feel stuck as we are left with less options for places to go. Parents have especially less opportunities for respite and rejuvenation yet they have to work, look after family and homeschool.

Lockdown adversities and challenges include parents spending more time alone, adopting poorer health habits and lessened self-care; factors which tend to contribute to the way we feel about ourselves and create a hot breeding ground for negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk is a combination and culmination of doubts and lack of confidence in our competence, whether real or imagined.

Unfortunately, this can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies and dent our ability to take positive actions, blind our creativity about the next step and cause inability to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

In addition to those examples mentioned earlier, here are some more common negative self-talk phrases that parents slap themselves with; -

I am of no use, I can't do this, I can't carry on, I am not worth it, others have it better, my opinion is not valued, things will never change, everyone else is doing better than me. And so on....

The good news is that every parent has the potential to break this cycle of negative self-talk by unlearning these negative ways of thinking and adopting more positive and forward advancing self-talk.

Positive self-talk is associated with more success as a person and a parent, both mentally and physically, and consequently, you have positive influence on your teen.

4 simple steps to effectively conquer negative self-talk and raise highly effective teenagers.

The following is 4C process that parents can use to unlearn negative self-talk and shift to a more positive self-talk that is likely to lead to positive progress.

#Catch it!

Parent, you've got to catch that negative self-talk.

Be aware of your thoughts. Especially those self-criticising ones!!! Catch them before they become those depressive and defeating feelings which then direct your mood, your actions and consequently your personality. You need to give yourself authority and permission to pause and catch those negative thoughts. Catch them and say "Caught You!"

#Coin it!

Parent, you've got to coin that negative self-talk.

Ask yourself, "Did I just say I am not worth it? I'm useless? I am incapable? I have just had that thought that......, I have just said.....

Then, say to yourself "I know that's not me, it’s the thought and I will not allow this thought to dictate who I am. I am separate from this thought and I know that because I just thought it and it doesn't feel good."

Say to the thought, "I coined you and you ain't ruling me"

Parent, you've got to challenge that negative self-talk.

This thought doesn’t feel good. This thought is not encouraging! That means it's not good for me. If I go on thinking this thought, it will cripple me and my ability to be a productive purposeful parent to my kids. I will not to allow this, I am choosing not to allow this because it's not helpful to me. Say to the thought; "Thought(whatever negative thought it was) I am challenging you, you are not life giving you are not good for me or to me"


Parent, you've got to calibrate that negative self-talk.

Say to yourself "I am turning back to thoughts that serve me. What thought can I think of at this moment that is more valuable to me and the kids? A thought that will help me support my young person at this point. A thought that is life giving and progressive?"

This is the point you activate and focus on more positive thoughts which then by their mere presence take the position of the negative thoughts and displace the negative self-talk. (remember nature abhors a vacuum)

You tell yourself “I am a capable and worthy parent. I am enough. Life would not have trusted me with these young people if I were incapable. There's a solution to every challenge, I am capable of finding solutions because I have done 1,2,3 before. (Remind yourself of past successes). The lockdown is beyond my control like everyone else. There are different activities that we as a family can do within the limits we are in. I am willing to take my young persons' guidance on this."

It’s important to manage our own negative self-talk as teens will model us.

Do you refer to yourself as a numpty when something happens that was unexpected?

Do you exclaim that this is too hard and can’t be done?

Or you’ll never get this or that?

These young hearts are watching and feeling us and it's particularly important we keep a tab on negative self-talk slips or what people refer to as Freudian slips which reveal how we feel about ourselves, our confidence and competence. It’s really important to be aware of our negative self-talk and consciously drop it. We can make an effort to drop it, and we can drop it!

See, when we are operating from that position of negative self-talk, we lose our credibility with our kids and teens and consequently have zero power to influence them.

Would you like to discover ways that you can be a powerful influencer to your teen?

Click here for a FREE 75MINUTES MASTERCLASS "How To Build Strong Bonds With Your Teenager Based On honesty & Trust, So They Actually Want To Listen To You."

Contact with any additional questions.

Raising Remarkable Teenagers website and products are managed by Angela Karanja; Psychologist, Researcher, Educator and Parent.

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